For the second time in a year, fines for motorcyclists riding or parking on the sidewalk will be doubled, this time to THB2,000 (US$65).
After going from THB500 to THB1,000 late last year to little noticeable effect, Bangkok Deputy Governor, Sakol Pattayakul said yesterday that the fine would be doubled yet again starting Aug. 1.
“We will listen to society’s feedback regarding the suitability of this fine hike and take it under consideration for our next meeting,” Sakol announced after a meeting of municipal leaders.
Sakol said he’s also pushing for development of a mobile phone app that police could use to check an offender’s criminal history on the spot. He hopes there will come a day that Bangkok cops can run instant checks on people from the field, as they can in most other major cities. Those found to be repeat offenders could therefore be hit with the maximum penalty immediately.
He added that in the past 12 months, the police have made 20,659 arrests, gave out 4,197 warnings and processed nearly 15,000 cases. The fines collected in a little over a year totaled THB11.2 million (US$360,000).
Riding and parking on sidewalks has long been a fact of Bangkok life, where roads often become paralyzed with immobility. As often happens, the epidemic became an urgent issue after an embarrassing viral moment. This time it was a 23-year-old courier knocking down a high school student in November while rushing along a sidewalk to make a delivery.
Since then, the government has said it will tighten enforcement of the sidewalk-riding ban. However, anyone stepping onto a Bangkok sidewalk during rush hour will know this hasn’t stopped countless riders from doing exactly that. When City Hall last doubled fines last year, it said it said the millions of baht in fines collected didn’t correlate with any reduction in the problem.
But hey, those with an extra sense of civic duty or need for some extra baht can take the law into their own hands and rat out their fellow citizens via a government bounty program.